The NHL Draft is underway at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have just shocked the hockey world.
According to ESPN.com NHL columnist Pierre LeBrun, Pittsburgh has reportedly dealt forwards James Neal to the Nashville Predators for forward Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.
James Neal to Nashville for Hornqvist and Spaling
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2014
Neal had spent four seasons with Pittsburgh, after being traded to the team in 2011 with defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Dallas Stars.
Neal had four years remaining on his contract, which gave him an average annual value of $5 million, per Cap Geek.
Hornqvist will arguably take Neal’s slot on the second-line with star center Evgeni Malkin, and Spaling figures to aid the secondary scoring of the Penguins, which was absolutely atrocious last season.
Although this may have been a financial move for Pittsburgh, Hornqvist is making an average annual value of $4.25 million over the next four seasons – per Cap Geek – so, not much was saved. Spaling is a restricted free agent.
Hornqvist played in 76 regular-season games with the Preds last season, and he collected 53 points (22G, 31A).
Spaling had his best season yet after the conclusion to the 2013-14 campaign, as he registered 32 points (13G, 19A) in 71 games.